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Igbo elders back Obi, urge Buhari to release Kanu

  Leaders of the South East geopolitical zone under the aegis of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, on Friday, declared their support for the p...

 


Leaders of the South East geopolitical zone under the aegis of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, on Friday, declared their support for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the 2023 election.

 

They also called on the President,  Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to release the leader of the Independent People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in the interest of peace in Nigeria and the South East.

 

While describing Obi as the true ‘unifier’, the leaders of IECF, also known as Ime-Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said their decision to back the former governor of Anambra State was devoid of tribal sentiment.

 

The chairman of IECF and former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, stated these in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

 

According to him, Obi’s presidency would put an end to separatist agitations by different groups in the country, especially that of IPOB.

 

Ezeife said, “We, before now, agreed in the Southern and Middle Belt Forum to call all the candidates from the South-East, interview them and adopt one person. But that has been overtaken by events. If you look at the candidates from A to Z, you find out that there is one from the South-East who is everybody’s candidate.

 

“He is the true unifier in Nigeria because he is someone who will banish poverty, banish insecurity, banish all the negatives associated with Nigeria. That person is Peter Obi and he is the person whom all of us will support.”

 

According to him, the South-East elders were the ones who prevailed on Obi to leave the Peoples Democratic Party in May.

 

“If you look at the records, you’ll find out that the elders in Abuja really worked hard to get him out as a candidate. We forced him to get out of the PDP so that he can be a candidate for president. So the question of even adopting him doesn’t arise as he is our trusted, God anointed candidate to remake and recreate Nigeria.  He will make everybody happy.

 

“Obi will make Fulani belong to Nigeria and have a say. He will ensure Yoruba don’t want to go and will also make Igbo and all groups stay in Nigeria and have the country restructured to work,” he stated.

 

Speaking on the ordeals of Nnamdi Kanu, the elders in a statement by Ezeife and Secretary of IECF, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, expressed disappointment over the decision of the Federal Government to abide by the Court of Appeal judgement which freed the IPOB leader.

 

The IECF said the move by the goverment would have far-reaching consequences on peace and security challenges in the South-East zone of the country.

 

The organization said, “The Federal Government appeal against the Court of Appeal three-man unanimous judgement, which discharged Mazi Nnamdi Kalu, is capable of aggravating the security challenges and peace process initiatives in the South East, preventing the conduct of 2023 general elections in the zone, as well as its ripple effects on the peace, unity, stability and continued corporate existence of Nigeria.

 “More worrisome is the media reports that the courageous and patriotic three member Appeal Court Panel that gave the laudable and landmark judgement of discharging Nnamdi Kalu was all transferred outside the FCT, Abuja within four days of delivery the judgement, which quashed the remaining seven of the original 15 count-charges of the Federal Government against him. Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja had earlier quashed and discharged him of 8 of the 15 terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

 

“The October 13 Federal Appeal Court unanimous ruling on Nnamdi Kalu, which quashed all the remaining seven count charges against him was not only historic, courageous and Patriotic, but also a naked confirmation that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man, especially in Nigeria’s current dispensation where the executive arm of government is selective and rascal on what laws to obey and the ones to disobey.

 

“We salute the courage and patriotism of this rare breed of justices that delivered an objective, popular and historic judgement On Kanu.”

 

According to them, as “responsible Igbo Elders, who believe in the peace, unity, stability and corporate existence of Nigeria, we appeal to the Federal Government to withdraw its appeal against the unanimous ruling of the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, and release our son, Kanu as directed by the Court.”

 

The elders observed that even if the Federal Government should appeal against the unanimous ruling of the Court of Appeal, the government should first obey the ruling of its own court as was the case with the recent Federal Industrial Court ruling against the industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

 

The IECF said, “The Federal Government insisted that ASUU must obey the courts first before its appeal case would be heard, and the latter [ASUU] has complied. The Federal Government should obey the ruling of the Court of Appeal and release Kanu for the say, of equity, justice and fairness.

 

“Nigerians and the international community are living witnesses to series of efforts and visits of the Igbo leaders, including the high level Ohaneze worldwide delegation led by 94-year-old First Republic Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, which had appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to explore political solution and release Nnamdi Kalu to our elders.

 

“Chief Amaechi had pleaded that Mr President should release Mr Kanu to him as a special favour and birth day gift to him as an elder statesman. Mr President refused and insisted that the judiciary should be allowed to handle the matter.

 

“The Appeal Court not only quashed the terrorism charges against Nnamdi Kalu, but also ruled that the Federal Government breached all known local and International laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria, thereby making terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.

 

“We still appeal to Mr. President to rescind Government appeal to the Supreme Court and release Nnamdi Kalu in honour of the memory of late Chief Amaechi, who just passed on without witnessing the release of Mr Kanu.

 

“We also appeal to ndi Igbo, both home and in Diaspora, to remain calm and avoid any actions that would aggravate the already tensed security challenges in the South East.

 

“We call on the international community, European Union, USA, China, Russia, United Kingdom, and other progressive and democratic organisations and individuals to prevail on the Federal Government to obey the court judgement, and release Nnamdi Kanu, whose health conditions, we learnt, have deteriorated terribly.”

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